Thursday, March 31, 2011

3 things...

on the agenda today:
A) Please check out this ESPN interview by Bonnie Ford. She's bright and knowledgeable about cycling and thus asks good questions.

B) Taken directly from the letter from USADA, citing the reasons for my reduction (first 3 reasons are related to the people that I put them in contact with):
"Fourth, the fact that the substance likely at issue in Mr. Zirbel's positive test, DHEA, likely does not continue to provide a performance enhancing benefit and the fact that Mr. Zirbel undertook substantial efforts to identify the source of his positive which may have been caused by a contaminated nutritional supplement."
Holy shit! They really said that I MAY not be a cheater. Yippee!

C) Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the positive and encouraging emails, texts, and phone calls this past week. It means sooo much to me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Um I guess I have some good news. Turns out I can race this year due to a string of random events that played out starting last October. Remember when I lamented on this blog a few months back about Di Luca because he got a reduction in sanction for providing details of his doping practices? And then I said something to the effect of "if only I had actually doped or had knowledge of dopers, I too could get a reduction". Well, at some point after that rant I met with a person who had incriminating knowledge of a suspected doper and I eventually helped convince that person to approach USADA with that information. USADA found that information so useful that they decided to reduce my sanction because of it.
The other crucial part to this puzzle is the onset of a new program started at the CU - Boulder Law School by USOC ombudsman John Ruger. It's a program where law students can take on real cases of athletes battling doping violations but who don't have the money to hire legal representation. I was their first case, and under the tutelage of Professor Andy Hartman, they helped me use the information that I could provide USADA for my benefit. Without their help, I'm sure I would have still tried to convince that person to help USADA but my situation would be unchanged. I'm convinced of this because this is the 2nd time that I've done this for USADA since my sanction began and the first time I simply put them in touch with the person who had the information with no discussions about how it should benefit me. This time, my CU team helped convince me to 'play the game'.
Yes, I agree that this has absolutely nothing to do with me and I'm don't really think it merits a reduction in sanction. But I'd like to think that USADA is beginning to realize that I'm not a dirty cheat. I think that they've talked to a lot of people both clean and dirty who all think that mine is a case of unintentional ingestion. I'd like to think that this was their way of getting me a reduction on a technicality. However, I'm probably full of shit. I think that I ultimately just saved them some money and potentially losses and they want to encourage others to do what I've done.
In citing the reasons for my reduction, they said that coming forth with information took 'courage'. I was a little offended by that. Every clean rider that I know of wants nothing more than for all of the cheaters to get caught and the punishment that they deserve. There is nothing courageous about wanting a clean sport. It's actually a selfish endeavor. I don't want anyone who is taking shortcuts to beat me or any of my friends. The reality is that I would have given them the information regardless of whether it directly benefited me or not - the same as any other athlete out there who is doing things the right way would do.
It's a crazy world. I'm going to make the most of this opportunity. The 2011 season was previously taken away from me so now anything positive that happens from this moment on is a gift.